Mum and Ruby: playing Hang Man.
Dad and Stella: card tricks and Patience
I had one of the loveliest nights last night with my parents and my girls.
In order to explain, I have to detail a little bit about my past. Bear with me :-)
When I was seven, my parents emigrated to Australia from England. For various reasons, and with everything weighed up, we arrived in Queensland in the late 1970's. Which for me and my sisters at the time, seemed like a very exciting and adventurous thing. And I think for us, as kids, it was a great move. We had a childhood of freedom and oudoorsy-ness, we grew up in a wonderful place with a fantastic climate, a house with a pool and lots of neighbourhood friends. Idyllic, you could say.
We had Mum and Dad, and close friends who felt like family. So although we had grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins back in England, we saw them only a handful of times. It felt like we had everyone and everything we needed right here. Love and laughter and support and happiness. To us, it was normal. I guess that's just how kids feel.
My parents retained good bonds with family overseas, and as children we travelled several times to England to catch up. As adults my sisters and I have all worked in England, re-forging family ties. My parents still travel frequently and of course, with social media it's so easy these days to stay in touch with family...but I'm straying off the topic here...
Now that I'm all grown up, now I have children of my own with PK, and now that I have extended family, my girls are growing up surrounded by close family. I have my parents close by. My sisters both have lovely husbands and five children between them. PK's from a large family with parents, brothers, sisters, in-laws, nieces, nephews and even a great-nephew now. Together we've got family ranging from eighty-five years of age down to five months. My girls have two amazing older cousins in their twenties and eight cousins in their age bracket. We see a lot of them on a regular basis and most of them numerous times a year.
And it's so...what? How to explain this feeling with words? Lovely, rewarding, amazing, fun, delicious, emotional and just so incredible and satisfying. I could go on but you get the picture. These are people I love and trust. They're also funny, ridiculous, hilarious, frustrating and sometimes downright annoying, but...they're my tribe.
So, last night, my parents came to dinner. It's been a few weeks; holidays and Easter has been busy. My Dad came armed with some new magic tricks; the girls were sucked in straightaway. They love that kind of stuff. After wowing them with his sleight of hand, he let them in on his secrets. My mum was drawn into Hang Man with Ruby. This is always a bit hit-and-miss if she doesn't get the spelling right! In the whole evening there was just this: family, fun, food and wine, laughter and new skills, bonding.
I guess you don't miss it when you don't have it, but when you do have it, you just realise what a blessing family is.
There are so many pictures I could put on this post. Pictures of cousins at the beach, of down-time on couches; in various pools and gardens and homes and on holidays. Of grandparents and babies. Of sisters and brothers. But you'll see all these pictures throughout my blog. Pictures of family.
For better or worse, for laughter or sorrow.
For love and for always.